Greater safety for
highway maintenance staff.

Two Econic trucks as safety vehicles to protect highway maintenance workers in Cardiff.

In Cardiff and the greater area, the teams at the highways maintenance depot often have to work directly on busy sections of road. When setting up lane closures and carrying out repair work on high-speed roads, they therefore need a reliable solution to protect the teams and other road users. And what better answer to that problem than the two new Mercedes-Benz Econic 1830 L models which the City of Cardiff commissioned.

Special body with crash cushion.

The vehicles which are to be used for maintenance and repair work on motorways and arterial routes are based on the 18-tonne Econic chassis with its proven low-entry design. The unusual bodies were prepared by Acklea – a leading provider of safety vehicles – and were specifically adapted to the requirements of the City of Cardiff. Produced in Hampshire and Wiltshire, the bodies meet the highest of safety standards. They are made of galvanised steel and aluminium, thereby guaranteeing robustness and a long service life.

The Mercedes-Benz highway maintenance vehicles are equipped with LED arrows from Nissen and a so-called "crash cushion" from Traffix. This cushion comprises damping elements whose distinctive curved design is able to withstand speeds above 110 km/h. The force of rear and side impacts can thus be reduced by energy being dissipated uniformly across the entire length of the cushion. Workers in front of the truck thus benefit from the best possible protection against collisions.

Seeing is understanding.

But Cardiff's council wasn't just interested in protecting its employees, but also in increasing safety for all other road users. And the new Econic is a great solution in this respect, as it offers a number of truly useful ex-works safety benefits: among the standard equipment, for example, is the Active Brake Assist emergency braking system with pedestrian detection feature.

If there is a risk of a collision, it can warn the driver audibly and visually, plus it can even initiate automatic emergency braking. What's more, the Econic comes ex-works with the DirectVision cab – a low-slung panoramic windscreen which ensures the driver has an excellent overview of the traffic situation.

Advantages and functions of Active Brake Assist in the Econic

As the driver sits lower than in a conventional commercial vehicle, he or she has direct eye contact with cyclists and other road users, not only to the front but also to the side thanks to the fully glazed co-driver's side door. When different road users can see each other more clearly, it's much more simple to communicate with one another and thus both parties enjoy noticeably greater safety.

A further safety benefit of the Econic comes from the easy through-cab access, which makes getting into and out of the vehicle on the nearside possible. Particularly when working on high-speed roads or in hectic city traffic, this is a major safety plus for crews.


Powerful and comfortable.

To ensure there is enough power for motorway driving, the trucks are equipped with a 220 kW (299 hp) six-cylinder inline engine with 7.7-litre displacement. Its power is transferred to the road by a six-speed Allison automatic transmission. In terms of ergonomics, both Econic trucks feature pleasant, fully air-sprung axles and a spacious, climate-controlled cab.

Not only its specification, but also its cost-efficiency meant the Econic was clearly the best solution for the team's operations.

Richard Jones, Purchasing and Contract Manager for Cardiff's municipal fleet

With their new Econic, City of Cardiff's council will be making a noticeable improvement to the daily work of their highways maintenance team: "Just like all trucks from Mercedes-Benz, the Econic also offers impressively high quality and reliability, plus the ergonomics are top-notch – it doesn't just offer a great view of the road, but also allows our employees to get in and out with ease – and they do that several times during each shift," explains Richard Jones.

Three strong partners.

The City of Cardiff already has a range of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in its fleet, including winter service vehicles with all-wheel drive, vehicles for drainage works and 7.5-tonne vehicles used for construction site transport, waste disposal or roadworks. The fleet management team procured their Econic trucks through leasing partner Days Fleet but maintains and repairs the vehicles themselves in their own workshop near the Cardiff's city centre. Just like for all of their Mercedes-Benz vehicles, they also have a trusted Mercedes-Benz partner at their side in the form of Euro Commercials, who provide assistance with warranties, technical assistance and the supply of spare parts.

Richard Jones sums up the successful partnership as follows: "We have a very good relationship with Euro Commercials and Days Fleet, plus the work of Acklea has really impressed us. All three companies worked especially well with one another on the Econic project. And the result is that our staff now have the ideal equipment at their disposal to carry out their very important work."

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